Strong economy but rising Australian interest rates mean locals remain very careful about spending with retail figures flat. “Consumers are refusing to spend unless goods are on sale, and retailers have no choice but to continue trimming prices,” says CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian. Same rationale surely applies to travel, which remains locked into a discounting cycle without end. 

Qantas Chairman Leigh Cliffords says demand is still “patchy” on international routes despite the Australian dollar hitting an all-time high against the US dollar overnight, and while retailer Flight Centre recorded a strong first quarter it also resisted raising its earnings guidance. The only certainty is further discounting to drive demand.

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